Tools For Bloggers

typewriterI’ve compiled a list of some of the online products and tools that have helped me run my blogging business over the last few years.

Money

Transfer Wise 

Transfer Wise became very important to me after our move to Sydney as it’s a cheap and easy way to move money across international accounts. Particularly handy for travel bloggers who may be spending long periods of time overseas, you simply make a payment in one currency via bank transfer or credit card and it turns up in your nominated international bank account in approximately 2 days. They use real mid-market exchange rates and charge a small flat fee for each transaction, so there are no surprises when the money hits your account the other end (unlike the nasty surprises I get when withdrawing cash overseas from my UK bank account.) The site is from the people who bought us Skype and Paypal and Richard Branson is a fan. Sign up via this link and your first transfer is on me!

Skimlinks

Skimlinks is a nifty little tool that converts naturally appearing links in your posts into affiliate, money-making ones. Once you’ve enabled the plugin you don’t have to do anything differently than how you normally would. It just means that if you’ve linked to British Airways, Lonely Planet or another brand on their books your link will instantly become an affiliate link and a percentage of any sale will be paid into your Skimlinks account. Find out more here.

Paypal

The fast and simple way to send and receive payments without revealing your bank details to strangers over the internet! Many agencies prefer to pay freelancers via Paypal but just make sure you agree up front who will pay the transaction fees or you may be left short.

FreeAgent Small Business Online Accounting

Freeagent

Freeagent has been a life saver from the first day I started freelancing. This online resource allows you to store client’s contact details, issue invoices and keep track of who has (and hasn’t) paid. It’s a Godsend when it comes to end of year tax returns and is very useful for people who work in multiple currencies. The price for sole traders starts at just £15 per month + VAT and if you sign up via this referral link you’ll receive a 10% discount.

Photography

Unsplash

My number one site for free, high-res, royalty-free photography is Unsplash. Every 10 days they add 10 great new pics to use however you wish, without asking permission from or providing attribution to the photographer or website. See some of their photography in action here.

Canvacanva

Not a professional designer? Nope, me neither. Enter Canva. Canva makes graphic design amazingly simple for everyone, by bringing together a drag-and-drop design tool with a library of more than 1 million stock photographs, graphic elements and fonts. From Facebook page covers to blog graphics, presentations and business cards, Canva have a library of templates and design tutorials to help you put together amazing, professional-looking images. It’s free to sign up, with just some premium images charged at $1 a pop. I also heartily recommend signing up to their blog, which is full of tips on design, content and social media marketing.

PicMonkey

A quick and easy way to edit photos and create awesome collages for blog content and social media marketing. I’ve been using PicMonkey for years: there’s no software to download, and no registration required. A wide range of fonts and effects are available for free or by subscribing to a Royale premium membership you gain access to even more features. Royale premium membership can be purchased monthly from $4.99 or annually for $33.

Social Media

Hootsuite

Hootsuite is what I use to manage multiple social media accounts without going mad! I have a Hootsuite Pro account ($9.99 per month) which lets me manage up to 50 social media accounts, preschedule up to 350 messages and add team members to work on the dashboard alongside me. As well as being able to monitor several social accounts, I have set up streams to monitor certain terms and conversations. I also use the analytics function to report on the most popular links and content I have shared across the different platforms throughout the month. Get a free 30 day trial of Hootsuite Pro here.

ScheduGram

Great app for scheduling Instagram updates directly from your desktop. Particularly useful if you have multiple accounts.

Mailchimp

Many of the small businesses I’ve worked for use MailChimp to send out their email newsletters and I’ve recently started using them for my email subscribers too. (Cheeky reminder to sign up here for email updates!) If you have less than 2,000 subscribers the service is completely free – wahoo!

Web Hosting

Chris at RTW Labs

Chris is not so much a tool as a legend! Chris is the WordPress and SEO guru who does all the bits on my site I don’t understand. He offers blog management as well as blog migration. Visit his site to find out more.

DreamHost

All my sites are hosted with DreamHost and I’ve found them to be reliable and responsive if I’ve had any questions. They offer a service specifically for WordPress site owners called Dreampress, which costs $19.95 per month.

Contests & Giveaways

Rafflecopter

Rafflecopter is a great tool for running giveaways on your blog. It has multiple entry mechanisms, including social sharing and following, and collects all the entries in a nice exportable excel file. The basic widget is free but you can upgrade if you would like to customise the look of it or add extra entry mechanisms like subscribing via email. It can also pick a winner for you at random and display the winner’s name on the widget.

Woobox

If you want to run a giveaway on Facebook, Woobox lets you create custom tabs for free. It has a nifty looking app for photo contests too, although you do have to pay for some of the fancier functions.

Admin

Dropbox/Google Docs

For sending large files (like images) to and from publishers I use Dropbox and for working on documents with team members in various parts of the globe I use Google Docs. (Sad fact: my partner and I have created Google Docs for things like household expenses and action plans which we keep constantly updated between us.)

Genius Scan

A super handy FREE app for those of us who operate from a mobile office. Genius Scan turns pictures taken on your mobile into pdf email attachments – super handy for sending signed agreements back to clients without the need for a scanner . Also great for creating a back up of your important documents such as passports and driving licenses.

Moo

I’ve been ordering my business cards from Moo since I first started blogging. They have a range of pre-filled themes as well as the ability to upload your own image or logo. The quality and finish of the products are always impressive. The service is fast, reliable but, best of all, really well priced. Save 10% off your first order by using this link.

The Rest

Other sites I use regularly are Google Analytics for stats, Etsy for items such as blog headers and favicon designs and People Per Hour for anything I need to outsource.

I’ve used (and still do) everything on this list at some point. I’ll keep adding to it as and when I discover new resources that make what we do as freelance bloggers a bit simpler. Where I’ve included a referral code it’s because I think it’s a great deal for us both.

No parties paid to be included in this post. All opinions are my own.

 

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